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Ray Allen explains why Celtics need that veteran Kyrie Irving talked about

Rob Bradford
December 05, 2018 - 11:26 am

CAP CANA, Dominican Republic -- It was after the Celtics' loss to Portland that dropped them to 7-6 that Kyrie Irving surfaced perhaps the most uncomfortable quote of the young season.

"You know, looking at this locker room, just me being in my eighth year and being a quote-unquote veteran, as well as Al [Horford] and [Aron] Baynes," he told reporters. "Right now I think that it would be nice if we had someone that was a 15-year vet, 14-year vet, that could just kind of help us race along the regular season and help us understand that it’s a long marathon rather than just a full-on sprint of when you want to play, when you want to do what you want to do. It’s all about attitude and effort, that’s all it is."

Since then the Celtics have seemingly uncovered a more consistent winning formula, winning three straight while improving to 13-10.

But that doesn't mean what Irving said should be ignored. Just ask Ray Allen.

Talking to at the David Ortiz Celebrity Golf Classic, the 18-year NBA veteran explained exactly why having the kind of veteran Irving suggested is, indeed, of some importance for a team like the Celtics.

"You always need that because you need someone who is going to steady the ship, always," Allen said. "Even when you win you have to have someone who will pull you by your collar and put you down and say, ’Guys we have a game tomorrow.’ Or tell guys to rest up, or go out and have a good time when we’re losing to shake it off of us. 

"Often times you get too high when you win and you get too low when you lose. In the NBA you to play in the middle because if you don’t you put yourself in a situation where emotionally if you lose a game you end up losing a couple of games because your emotions carry over. Even when you win you carry your winning emotions over and you lose the next game. It does require you to have a good locker room presence where not only coaches are saying it, but the players are saying it. So when the coaches come into the locker room you’ve got guys in there policing things and making sure the right things are being said, the right things are being done."

Allen served the role of a veteran presence while playing with the LeBron James-led Miami clubs during the Hall of Famer's final two seasons. And, evidently, he was also at the ready to jump back in with the Celtics to be that guy once again if Kevin Durant chose Boston has his destination heading into the 2016-17 season.

"I told him I would be interested in coming back if they needed me," said Allen of conversations he had with Celtics' general manager Danny Ainge. " I told him, 'If he comes I would love to fill in that role as a veteran shooter.' They were interested in it, but it didn’t happen, obviously."

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